In September, FURUNO releases the new distant training platform NavSkills CAT using a computer aided training platform to provide high quality training to FURUNO's ECDIS users. The NavSkills Computer Aided Training or in short the NavSkills CAT combines the best parts from computer based training as well as class room training. The NavSkills CAT is initially designed to provide type specific ECDIS training, but the platform can be used for familiarization of other vital navigation equipment in the future.
The NavSkills CAT is centred on a cloud computer hosting the training application software. To access the cloud server, the trainee will have to use a workstation provided by FURUNO. The NavSkills CAT workstation is designed to be installed and used at anywhere with the broadband Internet connection within the customers' premises, such as office or any of his branch offices so that the trainings can be conducted at the customers' side. The workstation accommodates the optimum training environment with dual displays (one for ECDIS and one for radar/conning/ship control and visual simulation) and a control head similar to the actual FURUNO ECDIS control head used onboard the vessel. This way, the trainees can learn, through the training, how to navigate the menus with the track ball and how to use the fast keys and controls on the control panel for fast and easy operation of FURUNO ECDIS. The workstation is provided by FURUNO fully configured as a plug and play solution, hence requiring no setting up at the trainee side.
In order to achieve better training results, FURUNO is launching a help desk, which will provide online support to the trainees using Voice over IP (VoIP). The help desk is accessible through a soft key on the system screen. By activating the help desk function, the trainee is connected to an instructor, who can guide the trainee or answer questions to facilitate the trainee's better understanding of the FURUNO ECDIS.
The NavSkills CAT is basically offered to the ship owners on a subscription basis with a yearly flat rate per workstation. The fee covers the provision and maintenance of the workstation and access to the training application software and help desk. This means that the ship owner can train as many navigators as he wishes on the system within the subscription period at a fixed fee, and because the training is utilising cloud computing, the training is available 24/7. Alternatively, NavSkills CAT can be subscribed on a pay-as-you-go plan depending on the number of certificates issued (service fee depending on number of trainees receiving the service).
The training on the current FURUNO ECDIS FEA-2107/FEA-2807 is available from September 2012 onward. Subsequently, the training programmes for the new ECDIS FMD-3200/FMD-3300 as well as refresher training modules will be developed in the course of time, both of which will be offered within the same subscription fees. This means that owners having the current ECDIS in their fleet today do not have to worry about the additional cost when introducing the new ECDIS in the fleet, because the type specific training for both models will be available within the flat yearly fee. The NavSkills CAT will be distributed through FURUNO's worldwide distribution network.
In early 2011, FURUNO has set a clear stance on end user training, which includes the ECDIS training activities in the FURUNO organisation and the distribution network. The aim was to establish a platform for ECDIS training provided under the FURUNO brand, which meets a quality standard set by FURUNO. FURUNO's quality standard for ECDIS training is based on the continuous study on the policies governing type specific training set by the various flag states and through an ongoing contact to vetting companies, ship owners and other stake holders to ensure that the type specific ECDIS training provided by FURUNO will meet the current and future requirements of the shipping industry. FURUNO has realised that it is necessary for manufacturers to establish such principles to manage and ensure good and valuable training to the shipping industry. Consequently, the ship owners will have more competent navigators onboard their vessels bringing even more safety and efficiency to the ship operation.
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